Big Mike’s Bikes, Gloucester’s only bike repair business, has a new home for the summer as a pop-up repair and rental shop in the parking lot of the Stage Fort Park Welcoming Center.
The pop-up shop will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and some Thursdays, weather permitting, and marks a new chapter in owner Mike Rogers’ career as a bike repairman.
“The thing I like best about (being at Stage Fort) is people walking by looking really puzzled and confused, so that means I’m doing something cool, different and kind of creative,” Rogers said.
Rogers previously operated Big Mike’s Bikes in storefronts on Maplewood Avenue and Washington Street, and started the business with his ex-wife as a bike repair stand at Gloucester farmers markets. He received a slew of bike repair requests after taking a year off from Big Mike’s Bikes and reopened it as an appointment-only mobile bike repair business until now.
Rogers offers four stages of repairs at Stage Fort that range from tune-ups to complete overhauls of bikes.
Basic tune-ups start at $2 a minute or $65 an hour and include a safety check, adjustments of the shifting and braking systems, minor wheel truing, lubrication where it's needed on the chain and cable, bearing inspections, new air in the tires and a light clean down.
While he sells bike accessories and plans to offer by-appointment only rental bikes — including a small, bright yellow single-speed bike named Flipper and another called Johnathan Livingston Seagull, a bike Rogers said “just likes to spread his wings and fly” — he will not sell new bikes.
“I would much rather focus on keeping good quality bikes on the road rather than try to sell someone something new just because that’s what the growth model is with the bike industry,” Rogers said. “I try to provide affordable solutions for most situations.”
Rogers isn’t only keeping cyclists on the road, he’s trying to provide economically disadvantaged people on Cape Ann with access to bikes and cheap repairs.
Anyone who receives SNAP benefits or free lunch at school will be given a 20 percent discount on all parts and labor at Big Mike’s Bikes. They can also receive used parts from Rogers for free.
“I want to help wherever I can, but ideally I want Gloucester to have a non-profit bike shop,” said Rogers.
Nonprofits such as Bikes Not Bombs Hub & Bike Shop in Jamaica Plains and CYCLE Kids in Cambridge provide free bikes, bike repairs or bike safety training to underprivileged youth. Rogers said he hopes to create a similar program in Cape Ann, but isn’t good enough at paperwork to make it happen on his own.
“If I could ever find people locally who would want to do that, that would be great,” said Rogers. “Ideally (Big Mike’s Bikes) would be an in-between until we can get that happening. But I just don’t know how to make that happen.”
Rogers is hoping to hold bike repair events at Stage Fort in the future to repair the bikes of economically disadvantaged people inexpensively as possible. He also wants to eventually fund free bike repairs for these people through yard sales of used bike parts.
“I want to keep talking about (a non-profit bike shop) as much as I can so other people might say, ‘yeah that's a good idea, let’s work together on it,’” Rogers said.
Although Big Mike’s Bikes has only been at Stage Fort for a few weeks, Rogers is excited by the response he has already received and will continue to share his love of bikes with others.
“(Bikes) are so much fun and there’s so much freedom with them,” said Rogers. “It’s the world’s most efficient vehicle, they’re simple and they’re usually easy to repair.”
For more information on repairs, rentals and hours, call or text Rogers at 334-BIKES-34 or visit Big Mike’s Bikes’ blog at BMBGloucester.com.